Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Controversial congresswoman did not have workers comp

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has quickly become one of the most talked about figures on Capitol Hill. Advocates like her aggressively liberal point of view and believe that her savvy use of social media is an effective way to reach young voters and energize the base. Detractors, some of whom are long-serving Democrats, think that the 29-year-old politician is pushy and does not understand how things work inside the Beltway.

Ocasio-Cortez famously has not asked detractors permission to advance her causes. However, that willingness to not follow the rules may have led to an omission where the Democratic Socialist did not carry workers' compensation for her congressional campaign staff during April of 2018. This is a startling revelation for a representative who promised to help the working class and poor. Not surprisingly, this news was quickly picked up by the local media as well as national outlets.

The candidate's office was fined $1,500 for this lapse. While detractors happily proclaimed the congresswoman to be a hypocrite, it is a classic example of how even seemingly worker-friendly employers can still make mistakes when it comes to business compliance and employment law issues.

The matter was addressed within a month and the fine was a relatively modest one, yet these errors can lead to bad press and a credibility issue. More importantly, workers would have had no workers' compensation if they had been injured during that month in 2018. This would have led to serious legal issues and a potential lawsuit involving damages. In Pennsylvania, it is a crime to fail to have workers' compensation insurance to cover employees.  Fortunately for both the employers and the employees, it all worked out for the best.

Employees with concerns regarding workers' compensation should talk to their bosses. If the answers they receive are unsatisfactory, they should consult with a workers' comp attorney who can provide guidance for effectively resolving the matter.

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